Michael Shawn; Director, Choreographer

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Michael Shawn, a Broadway director and choreographer who sued the producers of “Legs Diamond” claiming they fired him because he had AIDS, has died at 45 of complications of the disease, hospital officials said.

He died Saturday at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan.

In late 1987 Shawn learned that he was infected with the AIDS virus. That was shortly before he became the choreographer for “Legs Diamond.” He was dismissed from his job, and sued the producers for $2.75 million in a case that many thought could provide a legal precedent for AIDS discrimination cases.

But the case was settled out of court earlier this year.


Born in Springfield, Ill., Shawn began studying dance at 6 and had a 27-year career on Broadway as a dancer, choreographer and director.

His credits as a choreographer included “Oh, Brother” and “Onward Victoria.” As a dancer he was seen in “Golden Rainbow,” “Promises, Promises” and “Golden Boy.”